This article is long overdue. I bought a bunch of stuff back in November of last year, but it’s taken me a while to listen to it all. Here it goes!
- ESCHATOS Soundtrack
- Various Artists - 25th Anniversary ROCKMAN ROCK Arrange Ver.
- Rom Cassette Disc In SUNSOFT
ESCHATOS is one of my favorite shoot-em-ups with a great soundtrack, so I’m glad that I own a copy of it.
I don’t typically pick-up arrange albums, but I heard a few samples of 25th Anniversary ROCKMAN ROCK Arrange Ver. and decided to get it. It’s a total free-for-all on the covers front, and you have somber vocal songs (which seem a little removed from the ‘rock arrange’ format promised by the title) mixed with hard rocking renditions of songs from the games.
If you want the soundtracks for Batman, Blaster Master, Mr. Gimmick, and several other SUNSOFT games, then Rom Cassette Disc In SUNSOFT might be for you! It’s got the tunes, but those tunes immediate fade-out after playing once.
- LOVEBITES - BATTLE AGAINST DAMNATION
- Octaviagrace - new eclosion
- Onmyo-za - Hadou Myouou
LOVEBITES have been around since 2016, and they’ve already released two EPs and two full-lengths. They’re serious about this music-making thing! BATTLE AGAINST DAMNATION is very similar to their previous few releases - expect solid power metal with a twin-guitar attack. “Under the Red Sky” is easily my favorite song on here. You can tell Mao (former keyboardist of LIGHT BRINGER) wrote it because it has prominent keyboards (not a typical staple of LOVEBITES songs up to this point) and an overall sound reminds me of LIGHT BRINGER tunes like “Hearn’s Heaven” and “Dream!!”.
new eclosion is 7 tracks of solid Japanese power metal from Octaviagrace. Despite a lineup change (keyboardist Reanne left earlier in 2017), it sounds fairly similar to previous releases. Mikity’s vocal stylings are still an acquired taste, and the rest of the band sounds pretty much the same as they did on previous releases. There is a bit of experimentation going on (one track sounds closer to J-Rock than metal, while another features a disco beat), but I think that it’s mostly the same sound as featured on their previous releases.
Onmyo-za have been around since 1999, but 2018’s Hadou Myouou is the first of their albums that I’ve listened to. Apparently, I picked a great album to start with! From what I gather, it’s quite heavier than their typical sound. It even has some harsh vocals here and there, which I was surprised to hear.
- Mardelas - MARDELAS III
- Mary’s Blood - Revenant
- SABER TIGER - Live: HALOS AND GLARE
- Mary’s Blood - LIVE at INTERCITY HALL - Flag of the Queendom 2017
As you might guess from its title, MARDELAS III is the third album from Mardelas. The vocals are great, and the songs themselves seem cool, but the production is a wonky with odd-sounding snare drum hits and a lack of emphasis on the bass guitar.
Revenant is quite an eclectic collection of songs from Mary’s Blood. This CD has speed metal, power metal, bluesy hard rock, 80’s-style shred, an acoustic guitar solo, a solemn piano intro, a few bass solos, and EDM. I’m not kidding about the last one - “It’s Alright” is a dance number for some reason and it doesn’t quite jell with the rest of their album or their style in general. Everything else sounds great - I especially like the drum production throughout most of the album as they sound powerful but does not overwhelm the mix.
Saber Tiger’s Live: HALOS AND GLARE is a concert video that’s an easy recommendation to fans of the band. The sound, performances, set list, and production values are all high-quality here.
Saber Tiger filmed this concert at Space Odd in Tokyo, Japan, and it’s is an interesting venue. The stage area is small (and looks somewhat cramped with five performers on it), but it has a digital display for the stage’s back wall. (I’ve looked at a few pictures of the place, and the digital display seems to be a fixture of the place rather than a backdrop that bands bring in.) Saber Tiger used this screen during their concert to show backdrops that change from song to song.
LIVE at INTERCITY HALL - Flag of the Queendom 2017 is a solid concert video - if you like the set list, I recommend picking it up. I enjoyed most of the songs on here, but “It’s Alright” is still a head-scratcher.
(IMAGE COMING SOON!? It’s hard photographing LP-sized items…)
- Gacharic Spin - Go Luck
Go Luck is a 5-song EP of cover songs. And it’s not bad! Gacharic Spin tried their best with this seemingly random assortment of songs, but I didn’t dig it nearly as much as I did G-Litter. But when Gacharic Spin is concerned, a lukewarm first impression can be a good thing. I didn’t love Music Battler to begin with but it gradually became my favorite album of theirs. Here’s hoping that I’ll warm-up to Go Luck as well.
Sometime after November 2018, I lost almost all interest in listening to Japanese music. So only a handful of these writeups were actually written in a somewhat timely manner. Those were Go Luck, BATTLE AGAINST DAMNATION, Rom Cassette Disc In SUNSOFT, and the ESCHATOS soundtrack. I got a point where I was burned-out by the music that I was listening to and decided to take a break from it. I’m listening to this music and writing about it in November-December 2019, which is quite a break! Even though I wasn’t listening to any import music, I kept buying stuff - mostly due to FOMO because Japanese music tends to go out of print rather quickly.
I have quite a music backlog, but I’ll do my best to conquer it.
Next up is December 2018’s hauls.